Today’s opening of the accession negotiations with Macedonia and Albania is a success of both countries and your citizens. This is a result of your enduring commitment to our values, you have demonstrated resilience, you have maintained faith in the accession process, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in remarks ahead of the Intergovernmental Conference in Brussels on Tuesday.

She emphasized that both countries strengthened the rule of law, fought against corruption, have free media, a good civil society, numerous reforms and modernized economies.

You made all these changes not only because they were necessary on your way to the EU, but above all because they are good for your countries. And they are already delivering a better and better quality of life for your people. The EC has supported you all the way and we will continue to do so, von der Leyen said.

The president of the EC also referred to the intergovernmental conference that will be held today in Brussels.

After its holding, the Commission and the negotiating teams from Albania and Macedonia will start working. The screening of the EU legislation will begin, it is the first step of the processes and will allow Albania and Macedonia to familiarize themselves with the rights and obligations of our Union, from agreements through legislation, international agreements and we will continue very quickly with all that, said Von der Leyen.

She added that they will continue to work together and closely in several key areas.

For example, Albania will now join the civil protection mechanism. We have already started last month with the discussions and this will increase Albania’s resilience to natural disasters such as fires, floods, earthquakes and the member states know especially because at the moment some are dealing with huge fires, that the EU is always here to support you when disasters occur. Macedonia will soon negotiate with us about Frontex. It is about Frontex deployment in Macedonia and it will strengthen our cooperation in migration and Dimitar you can count on my support to ensure that the agreement will be translated into Macedonian language, without footnotes, without asterisks on an equal level with all 24 European languages, said the president of the EC.

She emphasized that with the opening of the accession process, cooperation will increase as the two countries progress with the negotiations.